About Primary Connections
Primary Connections: Linking science with literacy is an innovative program developed by the Australian Academy of Science linking the teaching of science with the teaching of literacy in primary schools.
Our program focuses on developing students’ knowledge, understanding and skills in both science and literacy, through an inquiry-based approach.
Primary Connections provides exemplary curriculum resources and a comprehensive and practical professional learning program.
Primary Connections has developed a suite of units for Foundation to Year 6 based on the 5Es teaching and learning model. Each unit provides a clear and practical teaching approach including comprehensive teacher advice and all the student resources required for use in the classroom.
The professional learning program is designed to build teacher confidence and improve student learning outcomes in science and literacy. It focusses on the pedagogical principles underpinning Primary Connections, and shows how these can be easily applied in the classroom.
The professional learning program gives teachers the tools to understand the Primary Connections approach, its philosophy and goals. Through interactive workshops, participants develop their pedagogical content knowledge. Teachers also explore how to effectively use, adapt and extend curriculum units to suit their students' needs, or write their own units using a unit planner.
Primary Connections is fully aligned with the Australian Curriculum: Science. It covers the three interrelated strands—Science Understanding, Science as a Human Endeavour and Science Inquiry Skills.
Primary Connections also aligns with many content descriptions of the Australian Curriculum: Mathematics and English.
The Primary Connections resources are also aligned with the general capabilities and the cross-curriculum priorities as they relate to Science, Mathematics and English.
Literacy focuses are embedded in every unit to assist students to use their everyday literacies to learn the new literacies of science. Students think about, reason and represent their understanding of science by using science journals, graphs, Venn diagrams, tables, role-plays and word walls.
Current research highlights that successful science education requires teachers to be supported not only with curriculum resources, but also with professional learning to boost their understanding of the teaching of science and literacy. The Primary Connections program provides both, and has undergone substantial trialling and independent evaluation.
2003 Primary Connections received funding from the Australian Foundation for Science to develop a conceptual model for the project. The model proposed a professional learning program supported by sample curriculum units, designed to meet the needs of primary school teachers and students across Australia.
2004–2005 The Australian Government announced support for Primary Connections and a Professional Learning Program and eight curriculum units were developed and trialled in 2005 (106 trial teachers participated in 56 trial schools across Australia).
2006–2008 The research showed a strong positive impact on schools resulting in further funding. This included the publication of a suite of nineteen curriculum units, training of Professional Learning Facilitators (PLFs) across the country, ongoing research and evaluation, and the incorporation of Indigenous perspectives. A Tertiary Science Educators Program was also delivered.
2009–2012 A Master Facilitator Program was conducted. A complete suite of curriculum units fully aligned to the Australian Curriculum: Science was developed. Keith Skamp’s comprehensive report Teaching Primary Science was published attesting to the fact that Primary Connections was making a positive difference to primary teachers in improving science teaching and learning.
2012–2018 Focus on teacher professional learning in regional and remote locations was supported by the Australian Government. Student Science Journals for selected units were developed. Alternative curriculum units were developed for selected concepts. New professional learning workshops were developed and conducted. ‘PC Ready’, a pre-service teacher two-day professional learning program was developed (2014) and implemented across the country. University of Technology Sydney (2018) conducted an external independent evaluation of Primary Connections Stage 6 (2014-2018) to assess the program outcomes and impact. Professional learning and curriculum resources have been developed to incorporate a focus on STEM education.
2019-2020 Plans for 2019-2020 include a focus on increasing the interactivity of Primary Connections resources, piloting online professional learning, research and review of how Primary Connections is imbedded in pre-service teacher education with a view to increase support for this sector, and development of new STEM teacher resources.